NCAA Use of Social Media

NCAA Use of Social Media

You will read the article #NCAA Inclusion: Using Social Media to Engage NCAA Student Athletes in Strategic Efforts to Promote Diversity and Inclusion (located as a PDF in this module) and answer the discussion questions posed at the end of the article.

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You can copy/p#NCAAInclusion: Using Social Media to Engage NCAA StudentAthletes in Strategic Efforts to Promote Diversity and Inclusion Yannick Kluch Rowan University Amy S. Wilson National Collegiate Athletic Association In an increasingly diverse sports industry, inclusive excellence becomes an important axiom to engage a variety of stakeholders. This case study outlines the development of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Social Media Campaign launched by the NCAA’s Minority Opportunities and Interest Committee in partnership with the national Student-Athlete Advisory Committees. The goals of this campaign were to provide the more than 500,000 studentathletes in the NCAA with a platform to create a dialogue on diversity and inclusion on their campuses as well as to communicate the benefit of inclusive environments to the student-athlete experience. By outlining the steps from the campaign idea to its implementation, this case study provides students with the ability to (a) understand a major sport organization’s planning process for a national social media campaign focused on diversity and inclusion, (b) analyze current diversity trends in the sports industry using the NCAA as an example, (c) trace the NCAA membership’s engagement with the campaign, and (d) determine to which extent a campaign such as this one can serve as a starting point for anchoring inclusive excellence in the fabric of intercollegiate athletics departments. Keywords: digital sports communication, equity, social justice, strategic communication Like every morning for the past three months, Jamie was greeted by the colorful wall of athletics logos surrounding the shiny blue disc at the main entrance to the headquarters of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), a majestic glass building surrounded by an idyllic canal in downtown Indianapolis. Even after working at the NCAA national office, as it is often referred to, for what felt like years, the sight of the logo wall—a wall displaying the athletics logos of the over 1,100 member institutions and conference offices that make up the NCAA—has not stopped taking Jamie’s breath away every single morning. The logos displayed on the wall, made up of any combination of colors imaginable, reflected the diversity of schools that make up the NCAA. The logo of a small Christian college stood proudly next to that of a major athletics powerhouse in a Power 5 conference. Various logos featuring birds circled logos made up of creatures of the sea. The logo of Jamie’s alma mater, a medium-sized Division I school in the Midwest, was clinging to that of the conference it belonged to. Even after three months on the job, Jamie’s daily walk past the logo wall was a constant reminder that the schools that make up the NCAA are as diverse as the logos that represent them. As Jamie climbed the stairs to her office, she carefully went through the day ahead like she was getting ready to perform a choreography at a dance recital. Today was the day Jamie’s team started the planning process for what would soon become the inaugural social media campaign focused on diversity and inclusion facilitated by the NCAA office of inclusion, the Minority Opportunities and Interest Committee (MOIC), and the national Student-Athlete Advisory Committees (SAAC) across all three NCAA Divisions. Jamie remembered clearly how the idea for the campaign was brought up during the last MOIC meeting at the national office. “We do all of this important work promoting diversity and inclusion among administrators and coaches, but do the student-athletes we ultimately serve know the value of a diverse campus?” asked the MOIC chair. “How can we engage them on issues related to diversity and inclusion?” The studentathletes on the committee, each representing one of the three NCAA Divisions, would follow these words with open eyes and ears. “These are not topics that are talked about too often, unfortunately,” one of them remarked, “and when we talk about them on our teams, then it’s because we saw something online that triggered a conversation.” A lightbulb popped up in the heads of several committee members, as the chair responded: “Then why not meet our student-athletes where they are at . . . online? I can’t think of a single student-athlete at my school who is not on social media. Let’s use the power of social media to bring student-athletes into the conversation of why diversity and inclusion matter on our college campuses.” Jamie had been tasked to take that idea and turn it into a presentable concept that could be shared with the committee for feedback. As she got to her desk, she smiled at her whiteboard that had transformed from a clean slate of white to what now looked like a sketch of various strategies representing the many hours spent brainstorming about the campaign. Jamie had turned what started as a vague idea at the committee meeting into a solid concept outlining a five-day campaign that was aimed at engaging the more than 500,000 student-athletes in the NCAA, along with their coaches and administrators, on topics related to diversity and inclusion. In the opening letter to a toolkit that would soon be shared with each school in the NCAA membership, Jamie wrote: “With the feedback from and support of the national SAAC representatives, MOIC is pleased to present this campaign, during which student-athletes, administrators, coaches, and fans across the country can use their platform to start the discussion, speak out onaste questions and put your answers below each (be sure to be thorough).

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